On Friday, The Preppie Connection was premiered at the IFC center in downtown NYC with a private afterparty with the cast at the High Line Hotel. Check out notes and review below.
Tied to a modest budget and a shooting schedule that lasted less than 20 days, the Preppie Connection personified is far from those portrayed in the film. Many of the film’s stars attended the opening night as well as the chic afterparty at the High Line hotel. Guests included Logan Huffman, Lucy Fry, Dylan Blue, Jessica Rothenberg and more. Now to review the film, the start is thin; a quest of vapid nothingness, the teen spirit alive but buried in premium perfume or slacks and a blazer. Unlined enthusiasm for carrying on tradition by keeping up appearances. Stability is the root of the preppie class; families steeped in money they didn’t earn, in accounts they live and die by. There’s a whole many of them when concentrated, sparse and global when they’re not. It’s an achievement that director Joseph Castelo balances closeness of a campus with the personal story behind several of the characters. Everyone is special here, but you’re not drowned in backstory. Toss in Tobias Hammel played by Thomas Mann.
The scholarship kid. I had a few of those in my private high school, too, no way they had the coin to get in, but a sob story or a low enough income in the right part of town can get you. They’d try to fall in line and often did. But in The Preppie Connection, the scholarship kid fits in by flipping off all the covers in a cocaine-induced rage; a passion for acceptance while revealing the critical holy grail of the Preppie class: how to rebel without having to leave the room. Scholarship kid brought more than the usual localized risks like hazing; he brought high-stakes sportsmanship. Though the one thing to know about the Preppie Class; they’ll see through your social-climbing and if you’re not of pedigree; get the f— out. There’s hallmarks of this sprinkled in the film, an obsession with self preservation, yes, but be mindful this is instilled at a young age. Children of the preppie class are taught to carry a family name, not just a personal legacy. Scholarship boy doesn’t have such an expectation. He’s expected to see girls, experience life, get into trouble, all which would trash a true preppie’s reputation, at most sending the preppie into the hall of fame of bullshitting; which isn’t that hard to begin with, the good ones will be sly and perfect (actress Lucy Fry’s shining achievement is the deadpan and artistic lying to the face of non-society types and friends alike). When in rarified air, playing up stereotypes isn’t just easy, it’s expected. Remember: stability. Ultimately scholarship boy is making high risk trips to Colombia for the valuable, destabilizing asset: pure cocaine. Initially via Colombian Royalty attending the school, character takes it in his own hands. His approach is aloof but calculated, unmatched but ultimately too ambitious. All the while he’s stage-left, nearly in the wings during the drug use on campus. Sell, then ditch the scene, but in this case, hovers around and reacts to the sexual tension of the real preppies. Scholarship boy gets caught at the airport, and is aggressively sentenced. Remember stability? One of scholarship boy’s biggest buyers ratted him out. Scholarship boy, try as he might, wasn’t really one of them anyway. The real preppie class was secure again.
The Preppie Connection is “frankly, a period piece” as director Joseph Castelo explained in the post-screening Q&A, and based on a true story that took place in the 1980’s. There’s no indication of that beyond some interesting automobiles and perfect fashions. In fact, the director went on to explain that the real “Preppie Connection” was even larger in scope and approach, and the techniques in the film were based on real transaction.
In theaters now, limited engagement.
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes.
Learn more at Coalition Films.